Gesher Galicia SIG #Galicia RE: Naming of first-born after grandfather's death #galicia

Peter Zavon <pzavon@...>

On Wed, 13 Nov 2019 David Scriven <> asked the
Gesher Galicia SIG:

<<I've noted a pattern in the records of my family: if the husband's father dies,
the first-born male after this event will be given the same name as the
(deceased) grandfather. I'm guessing that this was a tradition - but was it
among all Jews in Galicia, or among a specific group? Was it seen outside

<<Apart >from the difficulties for genealogists of having people with the same
name every 2nd generation, was it enough of a rule/tradition that the reverse
inference can be made?

<<My g-g-grandparents had a child named Abraham Isac Pomeranz 3 months
after the death of an Abraham Isak Pomeranz (at age 52) >from my
g-g-grandfather's home town (Stryy). How likely is it that Abraham Isak
Pomeranz is actually my g-g-g-grandfather?>>

Yes this was a tradition pretty much throughout the Ashkenazi population, not
only in Galicia. Like all traditions it was widely followed but not universally.

The core tradition was to name a child after a deceased relative and applied
to both males and females. To name a child after a living relative was,
therefore, to wish the relative dead.

This tradition can be used in reverse for research purposes but with some
care. If grandpa Abraham Isaac had four children and he died while they were
still building their families, there could be four grandchildren named Abraham
Isaac. In addition, if he died while his wife was pregnant with a male child, the
child might also be named Abraham Isaac. Each of those grandchildren could
eventually have multiple grandchildren named Abraham Isaac. While Jews
tended to move around more than the gentile peasants, many did live in the
same town so first and second cousins, etc., could be found living near each
other. As a result it is possible that an older Abraham Isaac could be, not a
grandfather, but a great uncle or even a cousin twice removed. Care and
additional confirmatory research is always advisable.

Peter Zavon
Penfield, NY

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